I arrived in Guayaquil just in time for their biggest festival of the year..
. which I had no idea about until I opened my guide book for a hotel recommendation and was warned hotels may be hard to come by. Luck prevailed and I found a good one near the center of town. Guayaquil has done a lot to improve itself in recent years and the new mile and a half long Malecon 2000 boardwalk along the river is better than anything they've done back in Pennsylvania or most places in I've seen in the states. So after enjoying the place for a couple days it was time to do what I came for.... get on a plane to the Galapagos Islands.
When I arrived on San Cristobal Island, I met Roy, an Israeli traveler in the same position as me searching for a place to stay. Just like that, we became roommates. We both apparently decided that paying for a guided cruise was too expensive and we would take our chances exploring the islands independently by hiring guides and doing day trips and such. I think we did OK. We saw a lot of the wildlife The Galapagos is famous for. Without going into too much detail of each day's events, I basically explored San Cristobal Island, Santa Cruz Island, and Isabela Island. I swam with sea lions, snorkeled with reef sharks, hiked to volcanoes, explored lava tunnels, and have photos of me with the most famous island resident, the Giant Tortoise. Since I have been gifted with so much space for photos recently, I'm going to take advantage of it and post plenty. Individual photos will have more detailed descriptions when needed.
A couple weeks ago, I left Cuenca on the afternoon bus to Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city. From there, I planned to arrange a trip to the famous Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin formed his theory of evolution. Along the way, the bus had to stop at a roadside repair station to change a flat tire. While I was there, I met an old, very excitable, indigenous man that was so happy to see people, he ran out of his little store to greet everyone personally. I asked him where I was and the name of his town. This puzzled him for a moment. After some confusing thought, he eventually replied, "It's part of Ecuador." Coincidentally, this was my first guess as well. With a little more thinking, he eventually decided it was Kilometer 26. KM 26 on the main highway from Cuenca to Guayaquil. So there you have it.. I visited KM 26 somewhere in a part of Ecuador between these two cities.